Building a Better Life

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1 The Family Education Program presents Building a Better Life By Fred Bigler Tom Changnon, Superintendent

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Week One - Building the Home Team: The Challenge of Leadership... 1 I. Introduction... 2 II. Parenting in Difficult Times... 2 III. Parent Education for Today... 2 IV. Are You Ready to be a Parent?... 2 V. The Parenting Challenge... 3 VI. Parenting in the Game of Life... 3 VII. The Five Decisions of a Star Player... 4 VIII. The Five Commitments of the Coach of the Year... 5 Week Two - Building Healthy Children: Understanding Child Development... 6 I. Understanding the Five Areas of Child Development... 7 II. Understanding Character Development... 8 III. Stages of Character Development... 9 IV. The Seven Steps of Home Discipline V. Character Review: Key Points Week Three Building a Better Life: Your Child s Most Important Teacher I. Four Steps in Becoming Your Child s Most Important Teacher II. An Introduction to Building A Better Life III. The Panorama of Success in Life IV. Operational Definitions V. The Law of Authority VI. Successful Teenage Confrontation VII. Review VIII. Making the Commitment Week Four Building Relationships: Getting Back in Control Who s to Blame I. What is an Out of Control Child? II. Some Common Examples of Beyond Control Behavior III. Some Common Examples of Beyond Control Attitudes IV. How do Children Get Out of Control? V. How to Start Getting Back in Control VI. Five Steps to Take Control of Your Child VII. Maintaining Control Through Actual Supervision VIII. Teenage Trouble Spots IX. Motivating Your Child to Change X. If Everything Fails Appendix A: Help! My Child is Out of Control! Appendix B: Evaluation Sheet... 31

3 WEEK ONE BUILDING THE HOME TEAM: THE CHALLENGE OF LEADERSHIP HOME Edgar A. Guest (Born August 20, 1881; died August 5, 1959) Adapted May 1992 It takes a heap of living in a house to make a home, A heap of sun and shade, and sometimes you have to roam Before you really appreciated the things you left behind, And hunger for them somehow, with all us on your mind. It doesn t make any difference how rich you get to be, How much your chairs and tables cost, how great your luxury; It ain t home to you, though it be the palace of a king, Until somehow your soul is sort of wrapped around everything. You see home ain t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute; Before it s home there s got to be a heap of living in it. You ve got to sing and dance for years, you ve got to romp and play. And learn to love the things you have by using them each day. You ve got to weep to make it home, you ve got to sit and sigh And watch beside a loved one s bed, and know that Death is nigh; For these are scenes that grip the heart, and when your tears are dried, You find that home is dearer than it was, and sanctified. You see home ain t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute; Before it s home there s got to be a heap of loving in it. 1

4 I. INTRODUCTION The Poem HOME by Edgar A. Guest What America Needs II. PARENTING IN DIFFICULT TIMES The Changing American Home Traditional Home (2 parent family) Single Parenting Step Parenting Casual Relationships Non Traditional Family The Changing American Society Mobility Working Parents Stress Parental Guilt Lack of Time Drugs/Alcohol Abuse Marital Problems Teenage Peer Pressure Parental Selfishness Teen Lifestyles (hedonism) III. PARENT EDUCATION FOR TODAY What is parenting? Parenting is loving, disciplining, and training. Loving: Caring for the emotional needs of your child by nurture and encouragement. Disciplining: Being strong enough to guide your child toward wholesome activities/friends. Training: Taking time to teach age-appropriate socialization skills and values. Where did you learn to be a good parent? From your parents? From your religious training? From TV and movies? From your friends? From parenting classes or school? IV. ARE YOU READY TO BE A PARENT? What does being a good parent mean to you? Are you as good a parent to your children as your parents were to you? What is the main problem with your child at home/school? Is your child concerned about the problem? What do you believe is causing the problems your child has? Do you feel your child respects you? Do you want your child to turn out like you? How much time do you spend with your child per day? What are your strong/weak points as a parent? 2

5 V. THE PARENTING CHALLENGE: Developing a Successful Lifestyle Being a parent leader in the four major social institutions is essential to good parenting. Establishing and maintaining the institutions in which the child lives is the responsibility of parents; it is a test of parental leadership. The four major social institutions are: Family, Church/Religion, Government, and Employment. They are the basic social structures within our society which give purpose and definition to our social and personal interactions. Without the support of the leadership figures within these institutions, we would not be able to find stability and meaning for our lives. Government Church Employment Family LIKE A CHAIR The four major social institutions are the supports that a person needs to successfully live within society. The authority figures within these institutions are responsible to shape character. One develops a positive character by properly inter-relating with the authority figures within these institutions. The failure of authority figures to act responsibly will result in character dysfunction in those under their care. The major purposes of these institutions are to provide the child with love, direction, training, challenge, and opportunity. VI. PARENTING IN THE GAME OF LIFE A. Life is a Team Sport B. Everyone is on a Team C. Your Family - Your Team D. Learning Teamwork at Home, at School and at Play 3

6 VII. THE FIVE COMMITMENTS OF A STAR PLAYER FIRST: A Star Player Makes a Commitment to Join the Team by: Recognizing the need to take personal responsibility to identify as a member of the family (its history and name). Accepting both the responsibilities and privileges of family membership. Maintaining a positive attitude toward parents and other players in the family. SECOND: A Star Player Makes a Commitment to Follow the Team by: Purposing to respect parental direction and other authority figures. Being willing to flex personal plans in order to meet family schedules. THIRD: A Star Player Makes a Commitment to Play on the Team by: Recognizing the importance of teamwork. Doing one s best to help parents and other family members in completing family chores and household maintenance. Endeavoring to fully participate in family activities, such as holiday festivities, recreational outings, and spontaneous special events. FOURTH: A Star Player Makes a Commitment to Think Like the Team by: Recognizing that parents must look out for the interest of all family members, not just cater to the special interest of one child. Willing participation in meaningful conversation and dialogue with parents in an attempt to understand the family game plan (goals). FIFTH: A Star Player Makes a Commitment to Remain Loyal to the Team by: Choosing to honor family leadership, including extended family members. Holding the family in top priority. Supporting and encouraging family members in face of their challenge and discouragement. Purposing not to bring disrespect upon the family name. 4

7 VIII. THE FIVE COMMITMENTS OF THE COACH OF THE YEAR: FIRST: A Good Coach Makes a Commitment to Coach the Team by: Putting the home team first assuring the family that they are top priority. Being more concerned for family members than family possessions. Recognizing the necessity of accepting personal responsibility to do the best job possible. Giving your children (players) a reason to brag about you. SECOND: A Good Coach Makes a Commitment to Lead the Team by: Assuming an attitude of being in charge. Building an honest relationship. Winning the child s will. Working together on a shared project. Developing credibility (dependable in keeping promises). Earning the right to lead and discipline. THIRD: A Good Coach Makes a Commitment to Train the Team by: Emphasizing education as a way of life. Teaching playing skills values education. Demonstrating not dictating. FOURTH: A Good Coach Makes a Commitment to Encourage the Team by: Maintaining self-control. Developing team spirit and family heritage (family pictures, reunions, and stories). Building the home team into a unit through family activities, holidays, customs, planned vacations, and table time. Dealing with defeat and discouragement with a positive mental attitude. FIFTH: A Good Coach Makes a Commitment to make each individual player a winner by: Respecting each child s individuality and importance. Helping them discover their own potential/strong points. Visualizing achievable opportunities. Refusing to let them quit when faced with age-appropriate commitments. 5

8 WEEK TWO BUILDING HEALTH CHILDREN: UNDERSTANDING CHILD DEVELOPMENT THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD CHARACTER Children are great imitators. They want to follow your example. Your children evaluate your character as they see your day-to-day behavior. They learn whether you are open and honest with them or whether you are indecisive, lazy, or selfish. They will test your will and watch for your response. They observe whether you put yourself first and will quickly see when your actions are inconsistent with your values. If your children see you compromise your values you will lose their respect and they will look for someone else to follow. Remember, what parents do in moderation, children tend to do in excess. In stressful situations, children want to follow parents who will provide them with strength, inspiration, and guidance. They will trust their lives to their parents if they see strong leadership. But they will lose confidence in their parents and begin to demonstrate disrespectful behavior if their parents lose credibility. At times, life is feared, stressful, and chaotic. Parents with strong character will be able to meet life s challenges. Parents with weak character will fail themselves and their families with lasting consequences. Children must and will follow someone. Children depend on their parents to lead, protect, and direct. They need an example to model behavior for them. Do you want them to follow your example? If not, who will they follow, and what will be their end? 6

9 I. UNDERSTANDING THE FIVE AREAS OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT 1. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT - Understanding physical development and preparing the child for the normal stages of growth. PARENTAL RESPONSE: 2. EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT - Promoting emotional stability through love and encouragement. Helping your child face and overcome life s challenges by counseling and personal support. PARENTAL RESPONSE: 3. INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT - Being able to challenge and encourage your child in the learning process. Developing an interest in your child s school program in order to help build confidence and a sense of worth. PARENTAL RESPONSE: 4. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT - Teaching your child respect for their elders and concern for the welfare of others. PARENTAL RESPONSE: 5. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT - Holding a child accountable for his/her behavior and challenging him/her to make right choices. PARENTAL RESPONSE: 7

10 II. UNDERSTANDING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT 1. CHARACTER - The goal of good parenting and the forgotten key to good family living. Mature character is necessary for successful marital relationships, family life, and social interaction. Mature Character - The motivation to conduct one s behavior in a responsible manner so that the good of the group is achieved. DEFINITION - Character is the sum of our motivations. If we are motivated to be loving and kind, we will be known as having a good character. But if we remain self-centered, we will be known as immature. 2. HOW IS CHARACTER DEVELOPED - Positive or healthy character is developed when we rightly respond to the direction of the leadership in our four major social institutions. 1. When children trust in their parent s love they learn to be secure. 2. When children submit to their parent s discipline they feel accepted. 3. When children listen to their parent s instruction they learn social skills. 4. When children honor their parent s guidance they become successful. 5. When children serve parents and others they develop meaning for living. 3. CHARACTER TRAITS NECESSARY FOR GOOD PARENTING For Parents: Compassion Determination Patience Humility Responsibility Self-Control Sensitivity Flexibility Humor Understanding Honesty Faithfulness 4. CHARACTER MOTIVATIONS NECESSARY FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING For Teens: Trusting in our parents love. Submitting to our parents discipline. Listening to our parents instruction. Separating ourselves from people and situations that influence us to participate in selfish behavior. Humbling ourselves so that we can develop the ability to work through life s difficulties. 5. UNDERSTANDING THE DEFINITIONS OF CHARACTER, PERSONALITY, AND MIND Character is defined as the expression of motivations. Personality is defined as the way we express ourselves: choleric phlegmatic sanguine melancholy Mind is the mechanism we use for thinking 8

11 STAGES OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT STAGE CHALLENGE RESULT ANSWER DECISION RESULT INFANCY 0-2 SELF- PRESERVATION Need to be safe FEAR Unattached, Isolated, withdrawn and disconnected from others LOVE Bonding Caring TRUST Connecting Attachment SECURITY A deep awareness of personal safety EARLY CHILDHOOD 3-7 SELF-WILL The motivation to do as one pleases ANGER Instability Frustration Tension DISCIPLINE Training in Obedience RESPECT Submitting to authority with a good attitude BELONGING Being approved by parents and others CHILDHOOD 8-12 SELF-DECEIT To hold our fantasies and deny reality CONFUSION Unable to act with understanding TEACHING Instruction in time-honored character values LISTEN Learning to be Teachable SOCIALIZATION Ability to successfully interact with others TEENAGE SELF- GRATIFICATION Indulgence in (drugs, sex, & selfish passions) Party-Time DEFILEMENT The Party s Over AIDS/STD s Resulting in drop out, depression, drug dependencies GUIDANCE Parental direction and protection SEPARATE Make a decision to stay away from questionable places and people SUCCESS IN LIFE Developing selfesteem and favor with others ADULTHOOD SELF- EXALTATION The self-centered orientation that produces pride and vanity FAILURE Inability to work with the group SERVICE Providing an opportunity to help others HUMBLE Realizing we are not the whole, but only a necessary part IDENTITY Know thyself Become aware of our true self, a loving servant to others 9

12 IV. THE SEVEN STEPS OF HOME DISCIPLINE 1. LOVE AND PLENTY OF IT A child is quick to sense his parents feelings. Children need a great deal of love and affection, and the desire to please is one of the most powerful tools of discipline. Show displeasure when the child acts poorly, but avoid saying, I won t love you if. Remember, reject the child s irresponsible behavior, not the child. 2. BE REALISTIC Set up simple and realistic standards of behavior and stick to them. Keep discipline reasonable and be sure to follow through. Remember, a child cannot be good all the time. Minor wrong doings should not be escalated to the proportion of a federal case. 3. DON T BE MANIPULATED When a child begins to nag or cry to get his way, parents are tempted to give in and be rid of the problem. If this happens, the child learns that his parent can be manipulated, and he ll take advantage of it. 4. KEEP DISCIPLINE POSITIVE By discipline, we mean training the child to obey. By punishment, we mean imposing a penalty. It may be mild or severe, depending on the misbehavior. A suitable penalty may be depriving a child of some favorite activity or other means of restriction. Remember, keep the focus of the punishment directed toward the child s behavior; don t degrade the child by verbally attacking him with insults or name calling. Keep focused on the problem and deal specifically with its resolution. 5. DO IT YOURSELF Discipline should not be transferred from one parent to the other. When a mother says to a child, Wait till your father comes home; he will give it to you! it s the same as saying, I m not able to discipline you. You re beyond my ability. This causes a lack of respect for the mother, makes the father into a bully, and fosters a bad family situation. 6. PARENTAL SELF-CONTROL Children need parents who are in control of themselves. Parents who physically or sexually abuse their child, forfeit their right to discipline and train. Firmness does not include yelling, hitting, or slapping. Spanking a young child for disobedience must be age-appropriate and done in love. It is usually reserved for very serious cases when the child is rebellious and defiant. For the more common misbehaviors, use other disciplinary means such as restriction, time-outs, or loss of privileges. Child abuse happens when parents lose self-control. 7. BE RECONCILED The goal of all healthy discipline is reconciliation. Allowing a prolonged period of time between discipline and reconciliation is not mentally healthy. A parent who withholds love and acceptance as a means of discipline injures the parent/child relationship and fails in their attempt to complete the discipline process. 10

13 V. CHARACTER REVIEW: KEY POINTS A. Children develop properly when their five basic needs are met: 1. LOVE - Helping a child develop secure relationships. 2. DISCIPLINE - Bringing the child s self-will into compliance with authority figures. 3. TRAINING - Teaching socialization skills for successful interaction with others. 4. PROTECTION - Protection the child from unwarranted exposure to sexual abuse, drug dependency, and violence. 5. IDENTITY - Developing a sense of worth through self-awareness; understanding our own strengths and weaknesses. B. Children are born with five self-centered motivations which will lead to character flaws if they fail to receive proper family guidance: 1. FEAR - When children trust in their parent s love, their fear is kept from turning into insecurity. 2. SELF-WILL - When children submit to parental discipline, their strong will is kept from turning into anger and instability. 3. SELF-DECEIT - When children listen (receive) parental training, their deceitfulness is kept from turning into anti-social behavior. 4. SELF-GRATIFICATION - When children are challenged by their parents to separate from selfish indulgence, they are kept from becoming defiled. 5. SELFISHNESS - When children humbly serve others, their egotism is checked, permitting them to find their identity. 11

14 WEEK THREE BUILDLING A BETTER LIFE: YOUR CHILD S MOST IMPORTANT TEACHER 1. Who is your child s most important teacher? 2. What are you teaching your children to prepare them for maturity? THE MIRROR OF LIFE ARE YOU DOING YOUR JOB? 12

15 I. FOUR STEPS IN BECOMING YOUR CHILD S MOST IMPORTANT TEACHER 1. Know what you believe in. Be able to explain it to your children. Don t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs. 2. Make a commitment to teach your way of life to your children. Start today tomorrow never comes. 3. Be prepared to justify yourself and your beliefs. It is normal for your children to test your values; remember, you teenager is raised in a value-free hedonistic society. 4. Develop a support system which upholds your way of living. Don t go it alone. The job of training children is big and requires all the help you can get. 13

16 II. AN INTRODUCTION TO BUILDING A BETTER LIFE Knowledge of the principles of living and possession of the power of choice work hand in hand in determining the success of the life building process. The Building A Better Life approach includes both of these important components. Teaching one to exercise the power of choice begins with the knowledge that building one s life involves the matter of choice. Each day brings opportunity to choose. Our study emphasizes this power of choice. The uneducated wait for life to act upon them. They do not understand the building principles of living nor do they exercise the power of choice. They are dependent upon the whim and fortune of circumstance. Positive and happy circumstances fill them with hope for the future. Unfortunate circumstances buffet their self-confidence and they eventually acknowledge defeat. The ranks of the confused are full of the desperate who wait for their luck to change. They are mastered by the capricious wheel of fortune. But, the Builder plans for success. He possesses both the knowledge of how to build and the power to choose. He is able to interact with this environment and take advantage of the winds of circumstance. He makes the right thing happen by making the right choice. Of such is the study of Building a Better Life. Success in life is the end product of right choice and proven knowledge; it is not accidental. This study purposes to pass on a proven plan for success in life. BUILDING A BETTER LIFE! 14

17 THE PRINCIPLES OF BUILDING THE BUILDER 15

18 IV. OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS 1. The picture of the Law of Reality: Life is difficult and often unfair. 2. The potential of the Builder: each individual has the privilege of building his own life. 3. The principles of building: the seven non-optional laws of living which promote success in life. Each concept contains information which relates to an important area of living. 4. The power of choice: the privilege to choose the healthy values of living. The choice is the link between the principle of building our life and our self-concept/ image. The power of choice places responsibility for success on the individual and thus enables man to control his destiny. 5. The personality of success: the seven areas of our self-image. Our self-concept is composed of seven areas of self-awareness which are linked to the seven choices and the seven principles of living. 6. The practice of self-government: the possession of internal controls empowers one to guide himself in the face of the challenges of life. 7. The panorama of success: the presentation of a model for success in life. Success is the product of proper building. It is the totality of an understanding based on the seven principles of living, the product of seven right choices, the benefit of seven areas of positive self-concept, and the result of right self-government. 16

19 V. THE LAW OF AUTHORITY The purpose of authority is to assist and guide others. People in positions of leadership are there to provide protection from dangers, seen and unseen. Respecting the authority vested in leadership helps guide one toward success. The clouds and rain represent the troubles of life. The umbrella represents the authority structure. Obedience keeps the child underneath the protection structure. PARENTAL AUTHORITY PROBATION AUTHORITY YOUTH FACILITIES AUTHORITY JAIL AUTHORITY The progression of rebellion or disobedience leads to stricter authority and less freedom! We have a choice to respect authority and gain freedom or to rebel against it and lose our freedom. 17

20 VI. SUCCESSFUL TEENAGE CONFRONTATION Using the Principle Approach Why use the principle approach? The principle approach avoids negative confrontation between the teen and the parent in crisis situations. By directing the teen to the violation of the Principle of Living and avoiding the usual direct and personal approach of why did you do it?, the parent can avoid a one-to-one conflict, which often ends in an argument. Example: Linear Example: X Parent Tensions X Teen Principles of Living Triangular X X Parent Teen One-to-one confrontation emphasizing the story Both teen and parent focus on into the principle violated, not at the personal justifications of the offender s story When using the principle approach, parents must be aware of avoidance techniques during confrontation. Teens regularly blame others, initiate arguments, and attempt blackmail, in an effort to avoid accountability. How to use the Principle Approach to solve a crisis situation. Hear the story. Analyze it to determine which principle of living the teen has violated. Take control of the situation through moral authority. Moral authority is that attitude (a position or state of being) which results when one possesses the ability to point out the violation of the principle of living to the teen. Moral authority emphasizes that the why is not as important as what, principles of living have been violated. We must deal with behavior not rationalization of our behavior. Rationalizations attempt to excuse a lapse in judgment and deed. Moral authority works for the teen when the parent educates the teen on the proper principles of living. Thus, instead of attacking the teen, the behavior of the teen is evaluated in light of success principles of living. In providing an answer to the problem, we become morally superior in that situation. Challenge the teen to make the value choice (the door) to implement the intellectual concept of the principle in question. In doing so, the teen changes his own behavior by taking personal responsibility for his own choices. Reinforce the change in self-concept as a result of making the proper value choice. 18

21 VII. REVIEW 1. Reviewing the Seven Principles of Living PURPOSE - everyone is designed for a special MANAGEMENT - everyone is responsible to care for the things they have AUTHORITY - everyone is held liable to respect authority RELATIONSHIPS - everyone and everything is connected COMMUNICATION - everyone desires to communicate with others FREEDOM - everyone desires to express themselves OPPORTUNITY - everyone gets daily chances to improve the lives of others 2. Reviewing the Seven Healthy Choices of Building a Better Life 1. Acceptance leads to self-identity, and a better understanding of our self. 2. Thankfulness leads to good attitudes and personal happiness called self Contentment 3. Commitment to your standards leads to self-respect; a sense of personal dignity. 4. Respecting leadership leads to self-control; the ability to control our behavior. 5. Loving others leads to self-composure; the peace of mind based on a right relationship with others. 6. Responsibility leads to self-discipline; the ability to become a self-starter 7. Investment leads to self-worth; the knowledge that we are important. 3. Key Points and Summary A. Just as there are physical laws that govern the universe, so there are laws of living that govern our personal behavior. B. When parents understand and live by principles or laws of living, they develop the confidence to teach their children how to live. C. Teaching the potential of choice helps children develop the sense of power over self and circumstances. D. Helping a child gain an understanding of self-government is a necessary part of our democratic way of life and empower him to live a positive and meaningful life. 19

22 VIII. MAKING THE COMMITMENT PARENT S PLEDGE I pledge to accept the responsibility of leading our home and helping my child build a better life. I will make my family top priority and be a good example for my children to follow. Today, I will begin to teach and encourage the right principles of living and practice them myself. Date Signed TEENAGER S PLEDGE I pledge to build a better life. I will obey those in authority and respect their guidance. I will be loyal to my family and honor my parents. Today, I accept the challenge to live lawfully and responsibly, according to the principles of living. Date Signed 20

23 WEEK FOUR BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: GETTING BACK IN CONTROL 21

24 WHO S TO BLAME? Written by an anonymous 16 year old girl WE READ IN THE PAPERS, WE HEAR ON THE AIR, OF KILLING, OF STEALING, AND CRIME EVERYWHERE. WE SIGH AND WE SAY AS WE NOTICE THE TREND, THIS YOUNG GENERATION - WHERE WILL IT END? BUT CAN WE BE SURE IT S THEIR FAULT ALONE, THAT MAYBE A PART OF IT ISN T OUR OWN. TOO MUCH MONEY TO SPEND, TOO MUCH IDLE TIME, TOO MANY MOVIES OF PASSION AND CRIME. TOO MANY BOOKS NOT FIT TO BE READ, TOO MUCH OF EVIL IN WHAT THEY HEAR SAID. TOO MANY CHILDREN ENCOURAGED TO ROAM, BY TOO MANY PARENTS WHO WON T STAY AT HOME. KIDS DON T MAKE THE MOVIES, THEY DON T WRITE THE BOOKS, THAT PAINT A FINE PICTURE OF GANGSTERS AND CROOKS. THEY DON T MAKE THE LIQUOR, THEY DON T RUN THE BARS, THEY DON T MAKE THE LAWS AND THEY DON T BUY THE CARS. THEY DON T MAKE THE DRUGS THAT ALTER THE BRAIN, IT S ALL DONE BY OLDER FOLK, GREEDY FOR GAIN. AND IN HOW MANY CASES WE FIND THAT IT S TRUE, THE LABEL DELINQUENT FITS OLDER FOLK TOO. 22

25 I. WHAT IS AN OUT OF CONTROL CHILD? 1. Beyond Control: A child who refuses to obey the reasonable rules of the parents most of the time. 2. Never Controlled: A child who has never been properly disciplined and trained. 3. Throw-Aways : A child who has been neglected and abused, both emotionally and physically, to the point where they leave home and become runaways. II. SOME COMMON EXAMPLES OF BEYOND CONTROL BEHAVIOR 1. Not staying home when told to do so.. 2. Not taking care of home (room, clothes, chores). 3. Not going to school (truancy). 4. Having undesirable friends. 5. Using drugs and partying. 6. Coming home after curfew. III. SOME COMMON EXAMPLES OF BEYOND CONTROL ATTITUDES 1. Ungratefulness: Does your child refuse to thank you? 2. Uncooperative: Does your child refuse to help out around the house? 3. Lying: Does your child constantly lie to you? 4. Disloyalty: Does your child embarrass you by the way he/she lives? 5. Laziness: Does your child fail to take care of his/her things? 6. Arguing: Does your child always argue with you? 7. Disobedience: Does your child ignore your instructions? 8. Rejection: Does your child fail to communicate with you? 23

26 IV. HOW DO CHILDREN GET OUT OF CONTROL? 1. At birth, children are self-centered and want to do their own thing. Young children do not know how to obey and must be trained to understand how and why they must respect authority. If children fail to receive the proper parental discipline they will not become attached to the parental authority, and will become difficult to manage. Children remain out of control by ineffective and inconsistent parental discipline and training. We spoil our children, not giving them too much love, but by giving them too little discipline and training. 2. Some common parental mistakes that contribute to the loss of control: Allowing the child to manipulate you. Failing to make a commitment to parent your child. Depending on your child to love you. Trying to earn your child s love by giving them things. Failing to praise your child and build his self-esteem. Favoring one child over another. Thinking your child can do no wrong (over-protection). Giving up on discipline and letting your children run their own lives. 3. The importance of the family unit: Young people who are described as beyond parental control are commonly the product of a dysfunctional family unit. The dysfunctional family is characterized by one or all of the following four conditions, only one of which could be the cause of beyond control behavior: FIRST: In the dysfunctional family there is the lack of parental education regarding the knowledge of child development. In these cases, either one or both parents lack the understanding of how to provide the love, discipline, and training necessary for a healthy personal and social adjustment. Consequently, the child is deficient in the common personality and character traits necessary for proper socialization. SECOND: The dysfunctional family is headed by parents who, themselves, suffer from the lack of self-control. They are unable to manage their own affairs, let alone provide for their child. When this occurs, the child is lost in the shuffle as parents are unable to provide normal family direction. THIRD: The dysfunctional family unit lacks the necessary structure which provides boundaries for proper socialization. By family structure, we mean the ability of the parents to organize age-appropriate activities to insure that the child s energy and time is properly channeled. When family structure is lacking, the child is exposed to extra temptations as the boundaries of acceptable activities are not clearly defined. FOURTH: The dysfunctional family commonly produces beyond control children because the parent(s) either lack the ability or are unwilling to provide active supervision. Children feel insecure and disconnected from parents who have failed to assume parental responsibilities. They wander through their active teen years looking for ways to occupy their free time. Usually, they meet other unsupervised youth and become emboldened in antisocial behavior. 24

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